ATUL KOCHHAR is looking forward to bringing his take on modern Indian cuisine to this year’s
ATUL KOCHHAR is looking forward to bringing his take on modern Indian cuisine to this year’s Henley Festival.
He will be making the short trip up river from his Marlow eaterie Sindhu to add another culinary experience to the festival’s burgeoning food scene.
The double Michelin starred chef said that although he knew little about the festival itself, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share the lawn with Michel Jr and Albert Roux.
Kochhar, 45, says: “I wanted to be a part of it and I feel honoured to be there. I know the festival has a lot of music but it also has fantastic food as the Rouxs have been there for years. I’m really looking forward to it.”
He will be bringing a team of about 10 chefs with him to the pop-up restaurant â?? Atul Kochhar at No 14 â?? as he bids to fulfil about 250 covers a night.
Despite admitting the new surroundings would be a “challenge” he sees next month’s five-day annual event as a chance to showcase what he offers at Sindhu, which is based at the Macdonald Compleat Angler hotel.
Kochhar says: “For me it is about using ingredients that are locally grown and taking them on an amazing journey with spices to give them a new spin. I call it fusion.”
He produces dishes that are influenced by the south west coast of India and will be offering four options for each of the starter, main and dessert courses for a fixed price of £85.
Guests can choose from the likes of Masala Koonthal Varuthathu (crisp squid rings, salad leaves, and passion fruit chutney), Erachi Chettinaad (rack of lamb with Chettinaad spices, polenta upma and kachumbar salad), and Gajar Halwa (caramelised carrot with raisin, saffron glaze with vanilla ice cream). “I want to keep a very classy feel to it,” says Kochhar.
He says he will make sure to sample some of the festival atmosphere and hopes to catch some of Lionel Richie’s performance on the Thursday night. “He is amazing. I have followed him from my college days, but I will make sure that I’m there every night.”
Kochhar started his cooking career at the Oberoi hotel group in India and in 1993 he was made a sous chef at the five-star Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi before moving on to the fine dining restaurant of Bernard Kunig.
In 1994, Kochhar moved to London becoming head chef at Tamarind. In January 2001 he was awarded his first Michelin star, becoming the first Indian chef to receive the accolade.
Six years later he opened his first solo venture, Benares Restaurant and Bar, where he gained a second Michelin star.
He makes regular appearances on television shows including Great British Menu and Saturday Kitchen and has written numerous books.
The Henley Festival runs from July 8 to 12. To make a reservation just turn up on the night, call the box office on (01491) 843404 or visit www.henley-festival.co.uk